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Growing Profits, Growing Jobs

CEOs, thought leaders, and the nation’s top policymakers gathered in the nation’scapital on June 8, 2010 to exchange ideas, build relationships and discuss the evolvingrelationship between business and government. Here are some of the highlights from the CEO2GOV Summit.

“Things are a mess in our country,” said Senator Tom Coburn(R-Oklahoma). “They’re a mess for a lot of reasons, but the greatest reasonis we have created a political culture in where the incentives are to do theshort-term, expedient thing rather than do the best, right, long-term thingfor our country.”

That provocative statement kicked off the CEO2GovSummit, where CEOs,thought leaders and the nation’s top policymakers gathered in the nation’scapital on June 8, to exchange ideas, build relationships and discuss the evolving relationship between business and government. A practicing physician,Coburn went on to express outrage and concern about the soaring deficit andhow attempted solutions—such as healthcare and financial reform—focuson “the symptoms, not the problem.” Nevertheless, his remarks ended on asomewhat hopeful note. “I think we can solve the problem, but I don’t thinkwe can solve it with the typical politics in Washington,” he said. “It’s time forpeople to take risks to do what’s in the best long-term interests of the country,not what’s in the best long-term interest of their political careers.”Read the entire transcript

Those opening remarks set the tone for a day of lively, and ultimately pragmatic,discussions about the top political issues affecting business today.

Obama’s New Business/Government Partnership

What are the Obama Administration’s economic and trade priorities, and how does it intend to achieve these objectives? Travis Sullivan, director of policy and strategic planning for the U.S. Department of Commerce, outlined the government’s playbook for helping American businesses to grow, innovate and compete. “There’s a view that the government is not pro-business,” he said. “[However], this administration not only wants, but depends on our private sector succeeding both at home and abroad.”

Read the entire transcript

Health Reform: Options for Reducing Health Costs

What does the healthcare reform law mean for business—now and in the long term? Part of the answer will depend on today’s CEOs, noted Scott P. Serota, CEO of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and Helen Darling of National Business Group on Health. As Serota pointed out, “there are 1,200 places in the reform bill where it says ‘the Secretary shall exercise discretion.’ Those are 1,200 opportunities for us to make this billbetter.”

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Opportunities in the New Energy Economy

In 2008, $386 billion, or 56 percent, of our trade deficit came from importing oil, Robbie Diamond, founder and CEO of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), a nonpartisan organization urging energy reform, told Summit attendees. Pointing out that U.S. oil dependence stems largely from the transportation sector, which relies on petroleum for 94 percent of its delivered energy, Diamond outlined how electrification of the U.S. transportation fleet could dramatically reduce that figure—and provide tremendous opportunities for U.S. business.

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Government & Economic Recovery: Friend or Foe?

“We need a regulatory reform that allows us to compete in the world without compromising worker safety, without compromising consumer safety; we can do those things,” Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Republican Conference, told Summit attendees. Pence discussed his concern about the lack of leadership in Washington and offered his views on what Congress can do to accelerate growth and remove barriers to job creation.

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Future of CEO Compensation

Corporate America is keeping a close eye on Kenneth Feinberg, the Washington lawyer who’s stepping down this summer as Special Master for Executive Compensation (aka Pay Czar) to administrater the $20 billion British Petroleum fund. At the Summit, Feinberg discussed the pay debate and shared his guidelines:

  • Cash-base salary should be very modest, below $500,000 a year.
  • There should be no guaranteed compensation other than cashbase salary.
  • The balance should be in the form of stock with redemption and transference restrictions.
  • Read the entire transcript

Enabling the Risk Intelligent Enterprise

Deloitte & Touche’s Rick Funston, a co-author of Surviving and Thriving in Uncertainty, spoke at Chief Executive Magazine’s CEO2GOV Summit on the missteps that lead to failure and how to avoid them.

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Building Tomorrow’s Leaders—Lessons from the Military

Army Chief of Staff General George W. Casey Jr., shared insights from the military’s success in developing strong leaders at Chief Executive Magazine’s CEO2GOV Summit. Here are excerpts from his remarks.

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Election 2010: Likely Scenarios and Implications for CEOs

Panelists Frank Luntz, CEO of The World Doctors and pollster; Mark Penn, worldwide CEO of Burson-Marsteller and president of Penn Schoen Berland; and Michael Barone, senior political analyst, Washington Examiner, discussed the upcoming election at Chief Executive Magazine’s CEO2GOV Summit.

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